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Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele

Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, the longest-running investigative team in American journalism and twice winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Magazine Award, are contributing editors for Vanity Fair.

Since their first project in 1971, Barlett and Steele have specialized in systematically researching, analyzing and writing about the complex issues and institutions that profoundly affect American life. They have worked together as an investigative reporting team for more than 35 years, first at the Philadelphia Inquirer (1971-1997), then at Time Inc. (1997-2006), and now at Vanity Fair since 2006. Their work has earned them dozens of national awards. They are the only reporting team ever to have received two Pulitzer Prizes for newspaper reporting and two National Magazine Awards for magazine work.

The Washington Journalism Review has said of Barlett and Steele that “they are almost certainly the best team in the history of investigative reporting.” James H. Dygert, in his book, “The Investigative Journalist: Folk Heroes of a New Era,” described them as “perhaps the most systematic and thorough investigative reporting team in the United States.” And Steve Weinberg, in the book “Investigative Reporting,” wrote that “(Barlett and Steele) believe people really should be treated equally, that the playing field should be level, that government should not favor one group over another, that private-sector entities should be watched as closely as the public sector.”

Barlett and Steele also pioneered in the use of reporting methods now standard in the profession. In 1972, they used a computer to analyze more than 1,000 cases of violent crime in Philadelphia. “Crime and Injustice” was the largest computer-assisted project of its time and was widely replicated by other journalists for years afterward.



Reporting is only part of the investigative story
COMMENTARY | April 21, 2008
The legendary investigative team of Barlett & Steele write about the importance of translating the details of reporting into ideas and language and visual images and constructions that will attract and sustain the interest of readers and viewers.

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